#Why #Are #You #Using #So #Many #Hashtags?
Have you ever read a post where you see these random, long tail hashtags and wonder you’re spending time trying to read a random phrase that doesn’t make sense?
Face it: we’ve all fallen prey to hashtag misuse and overload.
If an author need to get their point across, there shouldn’t be a need for the ‘#’ symbol. Put your thoughts in your post if you think it adds value to the reader and will get them to click and interact with your content.
What are Hashtags and Why are They Useful?
Hashtags got their start with the rise of Twitter. They are a useful way to organize your content or become part of the conversation within a trending topic. The keyword here is: topic.
The best way to understand how to use hashtags is similar to organizing your closet:
You may start organizing your closet based on common categories such as: blouses, t-shirts, pants, sweaters etc. right? Or maybe you’re into seasons primarily: winter and summer.
You likely wouldn’t organize your closet based on random occurrences such as: “Clothes I would wear when it’s kind of rainy but could be sunny in the afternoon” or “Sweaters that are only made for -30 degree weather and if I went up to the cottage/ski weekend”.
The same way you would organize anything in a smart way should be how you approach to your use of hashtags. Simple, topics that make it easy to search and categorize should be your guiding light when creating posts that you want to be discovered by a relevant target.
How Hashtags Have Become Misused
Hashtags have become misused when people want to express a thought or feeling related to the post but instead use the ‘#’ in addition to a run on string of words or thoughts. The hashtag will never be searchable again except for this one post and is a waste of space.
Another place where Hashtags become misused is a new phrase called: ‘hashtag stuffing’. This is more prominent on Facebook and Twitter where hashtags can help promote your content if you use them properly. ‘Hashtag stuffing’ is a desperate attempt to gain more engagement on a post and may not necessarily have anything to do with the content itself. For example: #likeforlike and #followme are examples of hashtags that have become popular but don’t add to your message.
Facebook and Instagram platforms actually despise this method of ‘findability’ and can hurt your chances of your posts being seen. On Instagram specifically, there is an allotment of approximately 32 hashtags that can be used per post. This doesn’t mean you should use the exact number every single time just to include hashtags that aren’t relevant to your topic or post. Algorithms pick up on this behavior and can penalize you in the end.
How You Can Use Hashtags Effectively
Hashtags can still be used effectively with research and careful curation. You can be creative and make your own hashtag where your loyal followers know to either tag similar content or can see what you’re up to in a different way.
When hashtags trend on Instagram, you can take advantage of this as another way where new users can find you. There are many tools that can help you research hashtags or you can do your own research based on your niche. It’s important to have a healthy mix of more popular hashtags with less frequent ones that you know you can dominate at the top of the list.
Movements such as #metoo have become popular with hashtags that allow anybody no matter where they are to participate in the conversation. This is one of the methods where some of the strongest media outlets discover that there is power behind the message.
If you hashtag properly, the end result should allow you to be found by your relevant audience.
Have fun with hash-tagging but don’t over do it. There’s a fine line between hashtag overload and being tactful with your approach.